David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 3 — Mishaps, Money

Mishaps

• Perhaps because of the influence of movies, Americans sometimes associate England with mistresses. One day, the English journalist Mr. Frank Giles interviewed an American. After the interview, the American asked Mr. Giles and his wife, who was not present, to dinner. Mr. Giles accepted the invitation, and the American said, “I look forward to seeing you and to meeting Mrs. Giles this evening.” However, Mr. Giles was married to the daughter of Earl de la Warr, meaning that his wife should be referred to as Lady Giles, not as Mrs. Giles. Therefore, Mr. Giles said, “Actually, she’s not Mrs. Giles.” The American, misunderstanding what Mr. Giles meant, and interrupting before Mr. Giles could explain, replied, “That’s quite all right. Bring her anyway. I used to keep a little woman myself once.”

• When Merrill Ashley was a young student at the School of American Ballet, she had the chance to dance in a workshop before an audience. Alexandra Danilova told all the dance students, “Remember, you have to play to the balcony. Don’t forget.” Young Merrill thought that she knew what the advice meant, so she held her head high and looked at the balcony the entire time she danced. Afterward, Diana Adams told her, “I never noticed it before, but you have this strange habit of holding your head really high when you dance, as though you’re looking up at the ceiling.” Merrill quickly corrected this “habit.”

• In 2007, actress Tori Spelling starred in the independent film Kiss the Bride. She played Alex, a woman who is engaged to a man but who then discovers that he had a previous serious relationship — with a man. Unfortunately, when Ms. Spelling made the movie she was four months pregnant, although her character was not pregnant. When director C. Jay Cox showed an early edit of the movie (when it was still in post-production) to a group of women, they amused themselves by looking for scenes where Ms. Spelling’s pregnancy was noticeable: “Oh, pregnant there, pregnant there.”

• In the 1946-47 ballet season in Paris, Violette Verdy — then a young teenager — performed as a sylph in La Sylphide along with other young teenagers. Unfortunately, during a scene in which the sylphs flew, her high-wire apparatus malfunctioned, leaving her hanging in the air with only her feet visible to the audience for 15 minutes. However, her ballet teacher, Madame Rousane Sarkissian, complimented her: “You pointed your feet very well, anyway!”

• At Chasen’s Restaurant, famous author/illustrator James Thurber once spent several hours drawing a mural depicting the War Between Men and Women. The owner of the restaurant, Dave Chasen, was delighted with the mural, but the next day the restaurant’s cleaning lady walked out of the men’s restroom and told him, “Some drunk scribbled all over the walls in there, but I finally got it washed off.”

Money

• Nathan Rothschild was a tremendously wealthy man. One day he presented a note from one of his tremendously wealthy brothers and asked the Bank of England to cash it. The Bank of England refused, saying that it cashed its own notes and not those of individuals. “The Rothschilds are not individuals,” said an angry Mr. Rothschild as he left the bank, adding, “If you won’t trust Rothschild notes, I won’t trust yours.” The next morning Mr. Rothschild and nine of his clerks walked into the Bank of England. Each man was carrying Bank of England notes, and each man went to a Bank of England teller and asked that the notes be exchanged for gold. This went on all day, and at the end of the day, the Bank of England’s gold reserves had been lowered by £100,000. The next morning, Mr. Rothschild and nine of his clerks walked into the Bank of England. Each man was again carrying Bank of England notes. The Bank of England Board of Directors quickly held an emergency meeting and decided to honor the notes of the Rothschild brothers.

• Las Vegas financial planner Dennis Filangeri once wanted to help a two-income, middle-management couple with a major problem: They couldn’t save money for their newborn son’s future college education. Mr. Filangeri had them keep track of their expenses for a month by having them write down how they spent every penny, and he discovered that 30 percent of their income was spent on unnecessary daily expenses, such as vending-machine snacks and magazines. To motivate them to save money, he asked them to display two photographs in their home. One photograph showed their son, and the other photograph, which was displayed next to it, showed a Twinkie. These photographs showed what they could do with their money: save it for their son’s college education or spend it on such things as Twinkies.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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